Posted by: Kathleen's Life Waves | July 15, 2010

Kathleen’s Life Waves Blog: Garage Bands/Bus Ride to Asbury Park/A Guy Named Bruce

Welcome back  to 1968 and garage bands. Garage Bands were the thing back in my hometown of Maplewood, NJ they were also big in Belmar and Asbury Park, NJ.

Joey and I are now 14 and allowed to wander a little more on our own yet as kids we stretch that wandering a bit to far. Come along on this life wave:

Everyone has someone in their family that they call Aunt,Cousin even when there is no blood connection it is usually because they are some close family friend as is the case here. Aunt Diane moved to Belmar from Millburn and she had a son who, like Frankie and Johnny, was a little on the wild side and if you remember Joey and I (being the eldest we were more on the quiet side but most interested in the adventure).

In the evenings Joey and I were allowed to walk the boardwalk  and Gram could see the boardwalk from the front porch. The Belmar boardwalk in ’68 had an ice cream shop at 16 Ave with a mini golf and if you walked toward Avon there were two Pavilions one at 13 and one at 5 (Taylor Pavilion) their might have been one at 8 but I do not remember(menopause moment) but across the street on 13 was an arcade where we would go to play skee ball.

Joey and I wave to Gram from the boardwalk as she is rocking away on the porch and chatting up a storm with Joey’s Grandparents.  What Gram did not know was  that when we got to around 9th. we crossed Ocean Avenue and walked to 10th. to the garage of Aunt Diane where  everyone would be hanging out.  This one night  everyone was just sitting, talking, reading waiting for to see what other freinds where doing when  we go down the block to hang with some new friends .  Little do we know that Aunt Diane  is calling Gram to tell her we got there ok. “Oh!!  so they decided to visit you thanks for letting me know” and even though we are not supposed to be there at all we fessed up ‘on our own’ when we returned. My Gram was cool about stuff like that explaining the dangers in going somewhere where no one knows you are.  She always instilled to tell the truth and hopefully also learn a lesson each day which is a motto I carried over to my Creative Playgroup-Little Creations  “Each Day is a learning Experience”.

Now Back to the garage!!!! ….These kids are older and way cool. I kind of felt like Gidget falling for Moon Doggie. Some had that surfer/beach bum look and tan plus they  were just dreamy(I cannot believe I am telling you this).  The coolest thing about me was my surfers cross, ha.  As for Joey he was a  guy what did they know about cool back in the 60’s.  A bunch of people hanging in a garage playing music, talking. Now Joey and I were told never to go to into any garages but well we figured since our friend knew them and we could see Aunt Diane rocking away on her porch chatting with some lady so our way of thinking made sense it was not like we happened upon the place by ourselves.  The was lots going on. Talking, guitar playing, more guitar playing, drummer was working something out with another guy  but the big chatting group was talking  about Asbury Park and what time the bus runs, playing music on and off.

We hang out for a while but realize we best be on our way back  to the house where Gram is with her tea and cookies still rocking on the front porch chatting away with Joey’s Grandparents.

A few days pass and we are doing our usual bike rides, hang at the beach stuff until this one overcast day we decide to go to the movies.

Now this is the honest to goodness truth!!!  We truly planned on going to the movies but somehow as we were walking along the bus to Asbury Park pulled up and like magic we both got on it. We were used to being on the bus with Gram but never alone.  The bus dropped us off at the Orange Howard Johnson’s Pavilion and we walked the boardwalk for the first time with no grandparents, parents, siblings and it was a FREEDOM  neither of us felt or experienced before. We were loving this!!   We purchased one ticket each and rode our favorite tilt-a-whirl ride and the more I think of it I am sure Joey loved this ride only because it  forced him into me  squashing me to death but each time we rode this ride we laughed so hard and our laughs were so pure and innocent.

At the candy shop we bought some licorice laces, ate some and wanted some to braid  into bracelets. We walked across Kingsley to the Palace Arcade where the huge ferris wheel stuck out of the middle of the building with its big bright-colored box like cage cars each imprinted with the name of a Jersey town. This building is also known  for it huge “Happy Face” Tillie. Weird kid ,was I, for I also hated CLOWNS, now some call Tillie a clown, my Gram told me he was a ‘funny face’ painted by a local man and had some connection to the Coney Island George Tilyou face. There was also a similar face in Atlantic City, NJ.  This Tillie brought much news to Asbury Park in the late 80’s early 90’s when the City went to HELL with contractors promising wonders. I am not going to get into the political bullshit and corruption that went on in Asbury since I was old enough to understand what my Gram had told me about it all starting in the 70’s.  Hence there was this massive wave that came in with the Save Tillie Group.

Back to our wave.  Joey wanted to go on this ferris wheel so bad and I point-blank lied to him all the while promising we would the next time when in my heart I knew I would NEVER go on that ferris wheel that swung and reached up to the heavens. We went into The Tunnel of Love rode The Swiss Bob and played a Fortune Teller Game.  I loved the mystical face on the Fortune Teller more than the fortune.

I am now braiding licorice laces while we waited to get on the carousel.  There was a carousel across the street at the Casino Building but THIS was the carousel you rode if you wanted to grab the brass ring and for that you had to wait sometimes  because you just had to have  a horse on the outside so you could grab for the ring or the man sitting by the ring machine would yell at you.

Now remember we are 14 years old kids with no concept of time until we hear someone mention dinner and we look at each other in sheer horror  and decide to head back to the bus stop. As we are crossing Wesley to head towards the boardwalk we hear loud laughter and  Blinded by the Sunlight we look back at the carousel and who is riding the outside horse reaching for the brass ring…that guy  and those guys from the garage on 10th. Avenue.  This meant nothing to Joey and I at the time for they were guys we listened to, with my not blood cousin, in a garage in Belmar on 10th. Avenue and it was not a freeze out until the  Summer of ’69 when we knew him as Bruce.

No names were changed or altered some we just plain left out.

Come along on my next life wave  which comes crashing down on me, 1969, murder,Vietnam, Woodstock, Run Away



  1. I love it! Im there with you..simple days..and memories forever!

  2. Thanks Melody, Yes you, Taylor and I share the Ferris Wheel Freak Out.
    Yes they were simple days
    and yes they are special memories to cherish.
    Thanks for your support, Hugs, xoxo

  3. Oh, I love my memories of small-town fairs and a little childhood mischief. Thanks for taking me back! Beautiful.

    • Barbara, Seems like my blog is recalling those boardwalk or small town fairs for alot of readers which is so fantastic.
      Heck we all have some childhood mischief in our past,ha. One day I will post my Asbury Park Collection. I just have to unbox it, scan it and download all in a days work.
      I read the sibling tug of war blog but will have to go back to comment later or tomorrow.
      I so enjoy reading your and Deb’s blog.
      My next blog will, sadly, will start what I learned, at the early age of 16, LIFE.
      Happy Weekend. Cheers Kathleen

  4. You know…since Rob moved in with me I’ve had to keep my little porcelain clowns hidden because they freak him out…I love your details…you’re bringing us all into your childhood…thank you!

  5. OMG I have to meet Rob!! I am terrified of clowns just knowing that they were in a drawer would freak me out. I would imagine them peeking out at night or doing nasty little things.
    I am enjoying sharing my childhood Summers especially with you. Just like I love to read in your blog about sitting and watching TV with your parents, brother etc. and especially love that picture of you and your Mom. I could feel the LOVE xoxo

  6. You are so cool, I loved it!!! It really makes me feel like a kid again!!!!

  7. @Carol Hey you are the garage band Queen.
    Have you been playing since we last chatted?
    I know what you mean, we all want to grow up so fast. When we get there we want to revert back.
    LIFE xo
    Thanks for reading so glad it brought the kid out in ya.

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